"Babywise!" Help! Friend swears by it.

  1. One of my friends just gave birth to her first son. She is a staunch believer in the 'Babywise' method and has all of the books. She said when she was in the hospital and the nurses saw she was reading this book (On Becoming Babywise), they told her they didn't agree with the premise and teachings of the book. She was sort of offended since she said she didn't ask for their opinion, but it hasn't swayed her from implementing the 'Babywise' teachings.

    If any of you nurses out there have experience with the teachings of this book, please share your wisdom as to why this is a horrible book. I have done a Google search on this and just about every single website devoted to the 'Babywise' method (Christian and secular) has been negative, even though my friend has said she has been successful at getting her son to 'sleep through the night.' Help!

    Thanks.
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  2. 48 Comments

  3. by   sunnygirl272
    i'm curious....what is it?
  4. by   live4today
    Yeah.......what is the "babywise method" of taking care of baby? I've never heard of it.....obviously. :chuckle
  5. by   Figaro's Mom
    This guy named Gary Ezzo wrote a book called "On Being Babywise" (and has since written several books covering toddlers to teens) and from what I understand one of his teachings is to NOT feed a baby when it is crying, but to feed it on a schedule that THE PARENT deems correct, in order to instil discipline into the child at an early age and show the kid who is in charge. Just let the kid cry and he'll eventually stop is his rationale. Allegedly he is a proponent of other things too, like spanking at a VERY early age (like around 6-8 months to 2 years old), and sending a child to his room if he's sucking his thumb (at an appropriate age). My friend said something about not letting the toddler child out of his room if he insists on sucking his thumb. (!)

    Here is part of an article I found from Ladies Home Journal discussing this controversial method.

    Babies in Danger?(controversial child rearing)
    Author/s: Jenny Deam
    Issue: April, 1999

    These two families followed a popular but controversial child-rearing program. One says their children thrived; the other says their baby's health suffered. Does this parenting method go too far?

    Jennifer Kambas didn't know what to do. Her newborn daughter, Elizabeth, wouldn't stop crying. Kambas, thirty-six, longed to comfort her, but in the parenting class she and her husband had taken, they had been warned that picking up the baby every time she cried would only encourage her to cry more.

    The Kambases were well-educated professionals, but when it came to babies, they were lost. Their friends and their faith pointed them to one man: Gary Ezzo, a conservative Christian minister who has created a controversial child-rearing plan designed to mold infants into well-behaved, respectful children. His program has become increasingly popular--almost two million parents across the country have now tried it.

    When Kambas became pregnant, she and her husband took one of Ezzo's "Preparation for Parenting" classes near their home in Laguna Beach, California. A cornerstone of the minister's teachings is that new parents must instill order in their homes to stave off exhaustion. Kambas liked Ezzo's idea of feeding her baby every two and a half to three hours--rather than on demand, as other experts advised--so that the infant would sleep through the night by eight weeks.

    But when Kambas mentioned the program in her Lamaze class, the instructor advised her not to follow the Ezzo schedule. There had been problems, she said, of babies not gaining enough weight, or failing to thrive from not being fed often enough. After Elizabeth was born, three pediatric nurses at the hospital also told her to feed the baby on demand.

    "I ignored them all," Kambas admits. "The woman who taught our [Ezzo parenting] class said, `They're going to tell you in the hospital to feed the baby when the baby is hungry.... Just smile at them.'"

    But once Elizabeth came home, "She would cry and cry, but we wouldn't feed her because it wasn't time," Kambas says. "I called the person who taught the class. She said [Elizabeth] was probably just getting used to her schedule."

    "We were so stupid," Kambas says. "But I really believed that this program was the most biblically based."

    When Elizabeth was five weeks old, she cried so long and hard one night that Kambas became frightened and rushed her to an all-night clinic. The doctor there weighed the baby and discovered that she had gained less than a pound and a half since birth. (Typically, a baby has gained more than two pounds by this time.) The doctor turned to Kambas and asked, "What's going on here?" She broke down and told the clinic staff about the feeding schedule she had Elizabeth on.

    The doctor was adamant: Kambas had to start feeding Elizabeth more often. That night, she began to feed Elizabeth on demand. In seventeen days, the baby gained nearly five pounds.

    Looking back, Kambas is tormented by the thought of what she did to her baby. "[She] was so little," Kambas says. "We were starving her."



    This guy has twisted the scripture where Jesus wonders why his Father has forsaken him on the cross....and has used that as reason for denying a crying baby a breast.

    I figured if my friend's nurses knew enough to warn her to avoid the book at the hospital, there would be nurses here familliar with this. I would hate to see my friend struggle with her breast feeding because she isn't feeding her child enough BUT she swears by this stuff.
  6. by   RNConnieF
    This sounds like a throw back to the '50's when babies where only bottle fed, never picked up, fed only on schedule,and tiolet "trained" by 9 months. It also reminds me a little of the Farber method to "Solve Your Infants Sleep Problem". Dr. Farber advocates allowing a child to cry for increasing amounts of time up to and sometimes past 2 hours in order to "teach" them to sleep. Not many mothers I worked with could follow his schedult for prolonged periods of crying, but one of the docs quoted him as gospel. I have to admit that ANY program that advocates allowing a child to cry to "teach" them something has a problem. You can not teach a child by not meeting his/her needs. What are you theaching them? That the world is a cold, ugly, and lonely place where no one cares if they need help or not?
  7. by   Figaro's Mom
    I think that since this is her first born she's afraid of coddling him and has fears of his being spoiled or a discipline problem later on. (?)

    She also said that as soon as she has healed up and the Dr says it's ok, she's going to begin working on kid #2 right away. So this REALLY concerns me.
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I think this is insane. Babies cry for a reason and being ignored only teaches them not to trust those around them to help them when in distress. I would NEVER raise a child in this way...and this is from a mom who lived thru 7 months of colic w/ two babies. JMO and not looking to debate here. I just cannot see doing this. Why have kids then?
  9. by   shay
    Tell her what I tell all parents/family members who voice concerns over 'spoiling' a baby by holding it.

    Ahem, " YOU CANNOT SPOIL A CHILD WITH LOVE. YOU SPOIL WITH NINTENDO OR BARBIE DOLLS. BUT YOU CAN NEVER, EVER SPOIL A CHILD BY GIVING IT LOVE."

    'Kay? Remind her of that. If she's concerned about spoiling the kid, tell her to go easy on toys and sugary snacks, and to enforce the house rules. Nothing burns my butt more than to hear a grandmother (it's ALWAYS some stupid grandmother...no offense, grannies) say to the mother, 'you're going to spoil that child by holding it so much!!' Please.

    Also remind her that bf on demand increases milk production, and not doing so could actually decrease her milk supply.

    Then snake that book away from her and BURN IT.
  10. by   Figaro's Mom
    Originally posted by shay
    Tell her what I tell all parents/family members who voice concerns over 'spoiling' a baby by holding it.

    Ahem, " YOU CANNOT SPOIL A CHILD WITH LOVE. YOU SPOIL WITH NINTENDO OR BARBIE DOLLS. BUT YOU CAN NEVER, EVER SPOIL A CHILD BY GIVING IT LOVE."

    'Kay? Remind her of that. If she's concerned about spoiling the kid, tell her to go easy on toys and sugary snacks, and to enforce the house rules. Nothing burns my butt more than to hear a grandmother (it's ALWAYS some stupid grandmother...no offense, grannies) say to the mother, 'you're going to spoil that child by holding it so much!!' Please.

    Also remind her that bf on demand increases milk production, and not doing so could actually decrease her milk supply.

    Then snake that book away from her and BURN IT.
    Thank you Shay....thank you, thank you, thank you. I will try to be diplomatic about it since she's such a good friend and all....
    I fear she won't really listen to me since I don't have kids. ("What do YOU know, you don't have kids!" Which is of course why I'm here asking y'all's advice!) Wish I could get the book away from her, she's a state away. *sigh* If anyone can recommend any alternative books for her, I'd appreciate it.
  11. by   live4today
    shay.......my dear allnurses sister.........i am a gramma, and i would never tell a woman......my daughter or any other......that you could spoil a baby by loving it, holding it, tending to his/her needs and wants. just wanted to clarify this granny's take on that! :kiss

    i was a mom before i became a grandmom, and as a mom, i held my babies constantly......whenever they wanted to be held, or whenever i felt like holding them....just because. two out of three of my children were breastfed babies, and i fed them on demand. i attempted breastfeeding with the other child, but no go....so every time she fed from the bottle, i held her very close.....i did not believe in propping an infant's bottle either.....at any age. even when they learned to hold their own bottle, i would still hold them until their bottle was all gone.

    as for that wacko who wrote that dumb book, it should be banned from the bookshelves, the internet bookorder sites, and the law needs to step in for the sake of those poor infants and children who are being abused by his dumb teachings. he may call himself a christian, but that does not make him a true christian. many people go around calling themselves "doing things in the name of our lord, but it is up to us to pray for discernment so we won't be dragged into such nonsense.

    any parent who uses that minister's teachings to raise their child are obviously suffering from a deranged childhood themselves where they don't know what is right or what is wrong when it comes to child rearing. i've never heard of that guy, nor have i ever heard of his book, or his teachings, but if i ever see any parent with that book in their home, or telling me they are raising their child by that book, trust me.....i won't hesitate to call dss...in a heartbeat! i'm too strong a child advocate not to report them.
    Last edit by live4today on Jul 22, '02
  12. by   Figaro's Mom
    "As for that wacko who wrote that dumb book, it should be banned from the bookshelves, the internet bookorder sites, and the law needs to step in for the sake of those poor infants and children who are being ABUSED by his dumb teachings. He may CALL himself a Christian, but that does NOT make him a true Christian. Many people go around calling themselves "doing things in the Name of our Lord," but it is up to us to pray for discernment so we won't be dragged into such nonsense."


    I figure if Dr. Dobson won't touch this thing with a 10 foot pole Renee, then something is definitely up. Says Dr. James Dobson:

    "I am familiar with it, and we get asked that question so often that we (Focus on the Family) have a statement that we'd be glad to provide for you that will tell you what our concerns are about it. I've never attacked it, but I don't endorse it. I don't feel real good about it. To start with, I'm concerned with the title of the program, which implies that there's only one way to deal with all the myriad of circumstances that come up in the realm of child rearing. You know, there's interpretation of God's way; otherwise we'd all see everything exactly the same, and we don't. So it's a little dogmatic in that regard. And secondly, there is a rigidity to it that worries me about young children. Children differ tremendously in temperament, as you know. They come into the world differently. And some of them are easy to raise and some of them are tougher than nails. And you try to take one of those ADD kids or one of those very aggressive youngsters and try to put them in a box like they recommend, and I think you can create some problems. So I'm not out campaigning against the Ezzos; I'm just not their greatest fan."


    "Any parent who uses that minister's teachings to raise their child are obviously suffering from a deranged childhood themselves where they don't know what is right or what is wrong when it comes to child rearing."

    Deranged, or perhaps just naive and lacking in the discernment you mentioned, Renee? Like I said, it's her first, and I know her mom to be a good woman (single parent household)....I wouldn't be surprised if her mom was concerned about her taking on this technique. While my friend was pregnant, she read lots of books; why she settled on this one is beyond me. She even said to me, "When you are doing research on the internet, don't be swayed by all the negative comments made about the Babywise technique. Lots of people don't like or approve of it." Well gee, if THAT many people are against it, Christian AND secular, I would HOPE it would make me think twice....*shrug* So many people can't all be wrong!
  13. by   Nursetobe
    Something else you can tell your friend about Gary Ezzo - he has been kicked out of several Christian churches because of his radical views and the babywise method is considered abuse in some parts of California.
    My brother in law and sister in law used the Babywise method for their son. I remember sister in law telling me about the time her son woke up in the middle of the night crying. Well she didn't want to spoil him so she stayed in bed and fell back asleep. She woke up 3 hours later and he was still screaming so she went and checked on him. The poor kid was drenched in sweat and had his leg stuck through the bars of the crib. When she told me that I got sick just thinking of how long he was laying there in misery.
    Some books that you can recommend to your friend are "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" - this book also has you put baby on a schedule, but it's not as strict as babywise - or any parenting book by Dr. Sears (who advocates attachement parenting and is also a Christian).
    Brenda

    This is my first message so I hope this works......
  14. by   live4today
    Figaro.......okay......I'll bite on the take that she could totally be naive, but something emotionally doesn't add up with her, or any woman who doesn't bond with her child in a way that offers the baby safety and love by holding them, feeding them when they are hungry, or otherwise. I'd have to strongly advise any woman like her to go for therapy......and not about the baby's crying all night either......but about her way of thinking.....or NOT thinking. :kiss

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